19 November 2014

Django Girls Amsterdam 2014: This Dog Learned a New Trick!

aesthetic fauna // django girls amsterdam
On Sunday I had the honor of attending a web programming workshop organized by Django Girls, a non-profit initiative that aims to get women involved in technology, through free full-day workshops in HTML, CSS, Python, and Django. Volunteer coaches donated their brainpower and time and walked thirty-ish of us through creating our first web app (website). There were over 130 applicants; I was pleased as a flea on a dog to be included.

aesthetic fauna // django girls amsterdam
photo ℅ Kinga Kieczkowska
The day was incredibly intense; most of the details surrounding coding were new to me, so trying to grasp abstract ideas about this thing I know nothing about was like, well, trying to study philosophy in Mandarin. (I don't speak Chinese.) But as the hours progressed, I was able to connect some of the dots, place meaningful pieces of information where once there was nothing. The learning process was tangible, and guided gently by our coach (a huge shoutout to Szilveszter- thank you!!). Since we were broken into groups of three or smaller, the attention was constant and individual, which made the task challenging but not overwhelming.

At no point did I feel out of place, marginalized, or incompetent, all of which I'd kind of expect walking into a workshop dedicated to coding. And there were cupcakes and a barista dedicated to keeping us caffeinated. By hour nine, though, my eyes had glazed over (see exhibit A below for a visual), the words I was reading on the screen weren't making it past my retinas, and I couldn't have spelled my name if asked. (Luckily, the exit survey was anonymous.)
aesthetic fauna // django girls amsterdam
And against my instinct, I went out for drinks afterwards. Normally I'm not the hang-out-at-a-bar type, but I'm so happy I decided to be that night. Hours and hours of focused attention must be followed by a couple hours of laughter. And laughter there was (especially at someone mistaking me for student-aged! BFFs FOR LIFE.). New friends were made, big dreams were discussed. Stay tuned here for Amsterdam-area programming meetups, where we'll continue to hone and share our skills. Django Girls, your work in Amsterdam is done. We will carry it forward!


Click here to learn more about Django Girls, see a list of upcoming and past events here, sign up to be a coach, bring an event to YOUR city, or browse their (free!) online resources.